Accurate measurements of ozone absorption cross-sections in the Hartley band
Abstract. Ozone plays a crucial role in tropospheric chemistry, is the third largest contributor to greenhouse radiative forcing after carbon dioxide and methane and also a toxic air pollutant affecting human health and agriculture. Long-term measurements of tropospheric ozone have been performed globally for more than 30 years with UV photometers, all relying on the absorption of ozone at the 253.65 nm line of mercury. We have re-determined this cross-section and report a value of 11.27 x 10−18 cm2 molecule−1 with an expanded relative uncertainty of 0.86% (coverage factor k= 2). This is lower than the conventional value currently in use and measured by Hearn (1961) with a relative difference of 1.8%, with the consequence that historically reported ozone concentrations should be increased by 1.8%. In order to perform the new measurements of cross-sections with reduced uncertainties, a system was set up to generate pure ozone in the gas phase together with an optical system based on a UV laser with lines in the Hartley band, including accurate path length measurement of the absorption cell and a careful evaluation of possible impurities in the ozone sample by mass spectrometry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. This resulted in new measurements of absolute values of ozone absorption cross-sections of 9.48 x 10−18, 10.44 x 10−18 and 11.07 x 10−18 cm2 molecule−1, with relative expanded uncertainties better than 0.7%, for the wavelengths (in vacuum) of 244.06, 248.32, and 257.34 nm respectively. The cross-section at the 253.65 nm line of mercury was determined by comparisons using a Standard Reference Photometer equipped with a mercury lamp as the light source. The newly reported value should be used in the future to obtain the most accurate measurements of ozone concentration, which are in closer agreement with non-UV-photometry based methods such as the gas phase titration of ozone with nitrogen monoxide.